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In a recent statement following discussions in Cairo aimed at securing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced concerns over a potential Israeli military operation in Rafah, southern Gaza.

Secretary Blinken said, “A major military operation in Rafah would be a mistake, something we don’t support. And it’s also not necessary to deal with Hamas, which is necessary.”

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During his sixth visit to the Middle East since the onset of the Gaza conflict, Blinken highlighted an upcoming opportunity to present the United States’s viewpoint on the situation in Rafah more thoroughly. This dialogue is set to occur next week when Israeli officials are scheduled to meet with President Biden in Washington to explore alternative strategies.

Blinken is slated for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wartime cabinet today. This arrangement comes amidst statements from Netanyahu earlier in the week, suggesting that an invasion of Rafah might be inevitable for achieving Israel’s goal of dismantling Hamas. This assertion stands despite warnings from the US regarding the potential repercussions of such an action.

Blinken has reiterated the need for an “immediate, sustained ceasefire with the release of hostages” to facilitate a surge in humanitarian assistance and pave the way for a more lasting peace. Despite these efforts, a proposed UN resolution for a ceasefire, supported by the US, was vetoed by China and Russia. Nonetheless, Blinken remains hopeful, noting ongoing negotiations to release over 100 hostages held by Hamas since the conflict’s start. Earlier today, he said, “The gaps are narrowing, and we’re continuing to push for an agreement in Doha.”


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